Warrior Insider

The Inside Source for Hawaii Men's Basketball

Warriors want to steal a road win at Riverside

The University of Hawai’i basketball team set a school record with 20 steals in its last game, and now the Warriors will try to steal a road win on Saturday.

Hawai’i will play its first Big West Conference road game of this season on Saturday, when it plays at UC Riverside at the SRC Arena in Riverside, Calif. The game is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time) and will be televised on ESPNU.

Hawai’i is 13-5 overall and 1-1 in the conference; Riverside is 8-9 and 1-2 after a 74-61 home loss to first-place UC Davis on Thursday.


“They shoot the ball well and they’re talented on the perimeter,” Hawai’i head coach Benjy Taylor said. “You can’t get too spread out against them because if you do, then Taylor Johns takes you off the bounce. We have our work cut out for us. They’re a good team.”

The Highlanders certainly appear to be much improved from last season, when they finished with a 10-21 overall record, including 5-11 in conference. The Warriors swept two games from UC Riverside last season.

“A lot of their guys got better,” UH sophomore Aaron Valdes said. “Taylor Johns being their best player, he got a lot better, so it’s going to be a good match up for our bigs down there.”

Johns is a 6-foot-7, 220-pound junior forward who leads UC Riverside in scoring (16.4), rebounding (8.5), blocked shots (1.8) and field goal percentage (.500). He has five double-doubles this season, and has scored 20 or more points in six games.

Johns gets most of his points on drives to the basket (he ranks fourth in the conference with 98 free throw attempts), but what makes the Highlanders more dangerous this season is the addition of an outside shooting threat in Jaylen Bland.

The 6-3 guard leads the Big West with 55 3-pointers, and is hitting his long-range shots at a rate of 42.3 percent. He scored 29 points and hit seven 3-pointers in the Highlanders’ loss to UC Davis on Thursday. He has made at least three 3-pointers in 11 of 17 games this season.

Other key players for the Highlanders include 6-4 senior forward Steven Thornton (9.1 points, 3.2 rebounds), 5-10 senior guard Nick Gruninger (7.1 points, 2.9 assists), and 6-foot junior guard Steven Jones (6.2 points, 3.4 assists).

Hawai’i leads the conference in scoring at 73.6 points per game, while UC Riverside is averaging 67.9.

Valdes leads the Warriors in scoring (16.3), rebounding (6.0) and field goal percentage (.525). Senior guard Garrett Nevels is second in scoring at 11.4 points per game, but he is not expected to play due to a hand injury.

The rest of the scoring has been a team effort by the entire rotation of regulars: Isaac Fleming (9.4), Roderick Bobbitt (8.9), Negus Webster-Chan (8.4), Mike Thomas (8.4), Stefan Jankovic (7.9), Stefan Jovanovic (5.2) and Quincy Smith (4.1).

Bobbitt leads the Big West in assists at 6.1 per game and steals at 2.8 per game. The Warriors lead the conference with 9.0 steals per game

Although the Warriors have played games on Maui, in Florida and Utah, this will be their first true road game of the season. They are 4-2 in neutral site games.

Saturday’s game will be played at SRC Arena, which has a capacity of 2,753. The Highlanders are averaging less than 800 fans per game this season.

“It’s nothing like ours, that’s for sure,” Valdes said. “I know they’re going to have fans there for it being an ESPN game, so it’s going to be loud in there for us. We just have to stay together.”

Game Information
Hawai’i (13-5, 1-1 Big West) vs. UC Riverside (8-9, 1-2 Big West)
When: Saturday, Jan. 17, 6:30 p.m. (Hawai’i time)
Where: SRC Arena (2,753) – Riverside, Calif.
Television: ESPNU
Streaming video: www.watchespn.com
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM. Neighbor islands can listen on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, and KTOH on Kaua’i.
Audio webcast: Streaming on www.espn1420am.com
Live stats: Live in-game stats available at hawaiiathletics.com


  1. Let’s Go Bows! Let’s Go Bows! Let’s Go Bows!

  2. Pocho….more like win bows, win bows, win bows…!!
    Hey by 1 point or forfeit
    effort, effort , execution..
    really will show heart and ability of team
    go bows
    win warriors !!

  3. Wait… Brian McInnis just reported that NWC didn’t make the trip due to illness…

    That Riverside game just became much more interesting tomorrow night… Wow, first no Nevels, now no NWC… Someone will have to step up big… I have a feeling Jankovic will have a great game tomorrow.

  4. njacinto…that is what makes this team special…quincy hurt back and wrist, reyes was out , wato concussion, bobbitt 9 stiches in head, nwc bruised ribs , ankles, flu..colds , altitude, travel lag, you name it..
    so far somone or several step up….
    great team..if only 5 guys healthy and available they have chance to win..bobbitt..
    janks, thomas, valdes, smith, fleming, jovanovich, niko, wato…enos
    they will find a way
    team never quit, even without nwc and nevels
    experience for guys who wanted PT…i.e. niko, enos, wato..now is chance
    however..benjy will go with top 7 and ? whomever steps up
    heart of champions
    this is Another Huge Game !!
    Go Bows !!

  5. Runbows…

    McInnis (per Twitter) that NWC had a virus earlier in the week… I agree that this will be an opportunity for the team to step up with both Nevels and NWC not playing… Jawato will probably make an appearance, but I think Niko will play too.

    Starting lineup?

    PG: Bobbitt
    SG: Fleming
    SG: Valdes
    SF: Jankovic
    PF: M. Thomas

    Jovanovic to step in for the bigs, Smith and Niko step in for the guards… with Jawato possibly being a swing guy. Nice to at least have a decent bench.

  6. Ok UHMBB fans….

    Better keep an eye on this:

    NCAA has accused SMU of playing a player that is academically ineligible. SMU is now on the clock to put together their official response.

    Knowingly playing an academically ineligible player is worse than a player receiving an iPad or mishandled paperwork.

  7. Jankovich he might be real key for team going forward…he has 6’11” frame , decent speed and hops and can score like a 3/4….he besides valdes…matchup problems when they get it going..
    imagine when all 12 healthy..
    this team..someone down ? Next man step up
    should be great game
    good hawaii fan following , espnu national broadcast
    cali boys ready!!
    go bows!!

  8. I guess UH MBB fans , we just concentrate on supporting coach and team
    I think last ongoing 5 years all guys who played were academically in good stead

    Go Bows !!

  9. FUHA:

    yes, now I understand, see how they come down on SMU for something that is considered more serious, than UH thing. We shall see, I think ncaa has a lot on the plate with North Carolina thing, and a host of other matters.. We just hope UH MBB team, which they are doing great at, just concentrate on trying to win as many games as possible, BWC title regular season/ BWC tourney season, or that 19-20 win season at minimum.
    Team, they are Warriors, great test for all, so exciting group, no matter who starts or who is first 7 or 8 man rotation.. Team is Ohana, and solid, want to win as a Team.. My total respect for Benjy, Que, Brad, and Brandon.. the staff, and of course the Team and their friends and families.

    Hope for a Big Road win at tough little gym Riverside.. UH has to play some awesome D, and get those rebounds, guard from 27 feet to rim..

    Go Bows !!

  10. Warriors gotta bang it inside offensively and defensively Plus pressure defense. Must win guys. We lost a home game so you must win tonight. Warrior Nation will be watching on ESPN. !! Play like Wsrrriors. And be Physical!

  11. shout out to all the warrior fans who can make it to the SRC arena tonight!

    GO BOWS!

  12. RE: SMU investigation.

    Yahoo’s article has a little more detail than the ESPN article I posted earlier.


    Apparently academic problems have plagued several SMU players. Multiple players have abruptly turned pro and one coach abruptly left the program a little while ago.

    Again, this appears much more serious than UH’s yet to be alleged problems.

    Speaking of problems, I guess North Carolina is not going to get any punishment for systemic, campus-wide (not just effecting athletics) academic fraud?

  13. IF “They” (NCAA) Allow UNC to ‘get away with’
    (Make Effective Use of) their Systemic Academic Fraud (Not Proven Except for Football?)

    AND Still Beat Up On ‘Little SMU’…

    UH should hire (Pro Bono?) a Smart Letter Writer to Reclaim the Men’s VB Championship
    Play for NO-PAY ‘Violation’, For Just ‘Being On’ a Team with Pros (Just Like The Olympics or FIBA/FIVA)
    [Then GO Win Another for The WARRIORS…]

    Next Firing? ?Lassner for Med School Mis-Management FAR Beyond Athletics or Basketball;
    The “Tens of Millions” i might have alluded to earlier…


    GO ‘BOWS!
    Any Way YOU Have To…
    FINISH STRONG And Ahead!

Leave a Response

Login or fill in the fields below to comment. (New user? Register)